A&D took a team of 17 to the South of Thames Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The race is steeped in history with the first race being held in 1888 making it one of the longest running athletics events in the country. And, no, Messer’s Moody, Moses and Hodge were not in attendance at the first race.
The Ladies team put in a particularly impressive performance on a course of over 7 miles, somewhat longer than the usual cross-country races. To add to this as a championship event the quality of the competition was very high. This did not stop Gemma Carter Collins from putting in superb run to finish 14th lady and 4th in her category. In 35th place and running a 10K personal best was ladies captain Ailis Goddard. Ailis was closely followed by Tracey Calnan who, with a very determined finish gained extra places on the line. Jill Crofton Martin also dug deep for a sprint to the line to finish 50th. Despite losing her spikes cross country experience saw Gill O’Connor through to 54th place. Emma Hanna completed the line up with 57th place. The great team effort and spirited sprint finishing earned the lady’s a truly outstanding 4th place overall.
An in-form Julius Samson finished the 3 laps in 90th place and 4th vet 50. James Booth was close on his heels in 94th. Good pacing by Paul Crisp saw him finish in 112th place, Paul getting better with each cross-country. Paul Moses next over the line in 124th. Alex Francis and Mark Harrison in 127th and 129th gained valuable experience and seeing the rewards for the hard mid-week training on the track. Adrian Moody had a strong run on the undulating and, in places, muddy course placed 133rd. Not far behind Darren Fagg battled through to 136th. Rob Butler found the second half of the race quite a challenge and dug deep for his 138th place. Adrian Beresford finished 142nd and Steve Hodges completed the tremendous efforts from the A&D men’s team finishing in 144th.
It was Stephen Hickman’s 170th marathon on Sunday. Steve ran the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon in a time of 4:54:49. If it’s a marathon then ‘usual suspect’ Rik Holden will not be far away. Suitably recovered from the 10 in 10 achievement Rik ran the SVN Usual Suspects Marathon in 3:53:58. Also taking part was Linda Jean Delport enjoying her 12th marathon of the year clocking a very respectable 4:29:10 on a muddy course.
At Southend Santa Dash saw Rhian Shrimplin, chased after the mince pies and run a personal best for the 5 miles of 33:06 earning Rhian 2nd female on the day.
Taking a break from helping Father Christmas, elves Will Whittington and Emma Jenkins took to the Folkestone parkrun on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, at the Ashford there were impressive personal best runs by Michael Hill, 19:08, and Alice Cook with 21:16. Jack Hodges continues to impress with a time of 19:01 along with Matt Hardwick ever improving in a time of 23:15.